Hey everyone! My name is Chitra Iyer, and I've lived in Illinois for most of my life. After graduating from University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign in 2017 with a degree in Molecular Biology and Behavioral Neuroscience, I was torn between my professional interests in medicine and psychology. I sought a service oriented career that would allow me to reduce healthcare disparities in underserved populations, especially youth, while elucidating and honing my own path, goals and abilities. Flash forward to July of 2018- I recently completed my 47 week service term with the National Health Corps in Jacksonville, FL, as a youth healthcare coordinator, health educator and HIV tester for an LGBTQ+ youth center called JASMYN. This experience truly changed my life; I loved it so much that I've decided to serve a second year with NHC- only this time, I'll be much closer to home! I'm thrilled to begin my second term as a Health Educator with Howard Brown's clinic on 63rd St., and build upon my ability to serve LGBTQ+ clientele in a culturally competent, trauma informed and sex positive manner that honors their intersectional identities. Through my service at JASMYN I learned about the ongoing HIV epidemic in the South, its toll on the LGBTQ community, and public health approaches for prevention and treatment, including PrEP; this year at Howard Brown, I hope to build upon this knowledge and learn more about how HIV/STI prevention, education and treatment can be tailored to Chicagoans, learning more about the diverse, beautiful city I'm lucky to call home.
Due in part to my last service term, I've solidified my desire to become a primary care pediatrician, and I plan to study for the MCAT next year. During my self-care time, you can find me exploring Chicago, running or doing yoga, journaling, thrift shopping, baking or binge-watching Netflix with my cat, Lucy. Cheers to a new service term- I'm ecstatic to begin round 2!
This blog post was written by NHC Chicago 2018-19 member Chitra Iyer.
Chitra will be a Health Educator at Howard Brown Health- 63rd Street.